Just because it’s a love story, doesn’t mean you can’t have a decapitation or two.

Apparently “watch all the Freddy Krueger” is this week’s recipe for decompression. The first few were watched after work, and today has been a marathon of terrible puns, body humour, body horror, and an origin story which cheerfully has more and more gingerbread added to it every other movie or so. (Child murderer! Who was the “bastard son of a hundred maniacs”[1]! Buried in ground that was deconsecrated by a dreaming dog peeing on it! And who was chosen by dream demons as the most evil person ever and given his powers! And who’s actually something greater and older than all these things–)

(Oh, Freddy.)

(Also, I’d apparently somehow completely missed seeing the sixth movie until earlier tonight. No idea how.)

And yet, I get why he appeals. I think, if I looked at the movies now, if I saw them in a vaccuum, I might not see enough to prompt the level of weird creeped-out fondness for the character that I currently have. But I’m not in a vaccuum, and that’s Freddy Krueger. When I was a kid waiting for the schoolbus, I picked up what must have been (I have determined through looking it up since) Freddy Krueger’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. It was a black-and-white comic, and I mostly just remember someone choosing the path that led away from flowers and fluffy bunnies and towards gross icky stuff, and that it ended with this page.

I would had to have been, I think, no older than eleven. That comic was not something I could afford, and it was not something I would have thought of actually owning anyway, I think.

But it was unspeakably neat. I mean, monsters and bad dreams! And the bad guy was telling jokes! And the art was much cooler than Archie comics and a lot more polished than the horribly cheesy B&W science-horror comics I had seen to that date. So I read it in dribs and spurts, sneaking it off the shelf at the corner store and going through a few pages and then putting it back on the rack when the school bus got there.

And that was how I met Freddy Krueger. I didn’t see any of the movies until years later, and the first one I saw was actually Dream Warriors, which I think was not the best of the bunch. But I knew who he was, because everyone knows who he was. Oh, not in a super-important way; I don’t think I ever even heard him mentioned as a topic of discussion for years. But he’s part of the background radiation of cultural consciousness.

It’s been interesting, deliberately concentrating on the source material instead of simply settling for what I already know.

[1] Oh don’t get me started. But anyway.

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